Swimming, The Collectable Few and Luna Belle, Old Queen’s Head, 11 March 2011

Luna Belle jump straight into it, every instrument coming in at once. It’s an attention-grabbing start.

But just two songs in, the jig is up. Interest starts to wane as it becomes obvious that predictable, mediocre indie is all this band has to offer.

Their sound is unmistakably 90s – every song sounding like a variant of James’ Laid – with no effort whatsoever being made to bring anything new or different to the table.

Lead singer, Katherine Joyce, has her charms as a passionate performer, but it simply isn’t enough to compensate for a monotonous set of songs.

The pressure is now on The Collectable Few to raise the bar. The punchy pop of Glamour kicks in and lead singer, Tarek Al-shammaa, immediately starts jumping up and down. Already they are out-performing their predecessors.

As the set goes on the energy builds, and they dance like they are desperate to break free from the confines of the stage. The enthusiasm is contagious: it’s not long before movement spreads through the audience.

They play through the catchy sing-along verses of Lucky In Love and the racing guitars of Headstrong, all the time brimming with a confidence that suggests they don’t care what we think of them.

Finally, the room has been woken up.

By the time headliners, Swimming, appear, however, the crowd is getting lairy. This is another band who bring all of their instruments in at once to create a solid wall of noise right from the off. But this time, the fans get stuck in with them.

Hopefully, alcohol has blurred the audience’s judgement, because the sound Swimming are making is scarcely deserving of applause. They’re like a crap version of Incubus, or a less-heavy version of Linkin Park.

The accepted structures of songwriting are ignored as the band play incredibly long tracks with no hint of a chorus, or even a strong and coherent melody. There is too much going on in this music, with every instrument pounding out a note for every beat. There is simply no breathing space to take it all in.

But, in their drunken state, the audience is loving it. Swimming are no doubt pleased to have found a fanbase, but they’re going to have to get better at writing melodies if they ever want to break out of the pub scene.

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One comment

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